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June 13, 2013

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There interview advice here seems mostly pretty solid. However, half of the questions in his list of favorite questions to ask would drop the interviewee down on my list. They appear self aggrandizing and butt kissing. Many would rub me the wrong way.

Many of the others are just annoying. What are the top 3 skills not listed in the job description? The important skills were all listed. What kind of question is that? Asking me about the most creative thing I do in my job? I am not being interviewed about how I do my job and would be annoyed by the question. Asking me how the interviewee is doing and if they will progress to the next level is also over eager and would signal to me the person may be someone who has a problem with patience. Calling it going for the close doesn't help. I know what going for the close is and I recognize it a mile away. I will close when I am good and ready for it. If you push me I will close it in a way you are not in favor of.

I honestly do not like hardly any of his favorite questions.

Ha, Apex beat me to it. What are the top 3 skills that are important that aren't in the position, sounds to me like "since I know you didn't write a good description, why don't you let me in on the secret of what you're REALLY looking for"

I was interested to get to the "good questions to ask," but this article doesn't have many.

Fully agree - these questions are not good at all., The one that annoys me most is the "perfectionist" one. It's like the canned answer to the question "what are your weaknesses" "well, I am a perfectionist and sometimes pay too much attention to detail". Duh

The questions I welcome most are questions about the company that go beyond what you can find on website or in news (and which show you have done your reading on the basics already), you can ask about the typical career path and different options around it, you can ask me about my trajectory and what I like about the company culture (but that "creative" question is just too weird).

The three tricks about writing things down during the questions to "keep yourself on track" sound like they might make the interview feel awkward. Especially if a reviewer asks you a questions and there is any kind of a pause while you write things down to organize your thoughts, or if you are constantly referring to a pre-prepared list of "answers" or notes on a piece of paper. The interviews I've been on have usually had more of a conversational flow and it would have been weird to write down "talking points" for myself to remember. I think if you are a person who would need to do this, it would be better to practice off-the-cuff speaking as part of your pre-interview prep.

This is not to say don't write anything down. Making brief notes to help you remember what you discussed generally, or key points that the interviewer tells you about the company or role you are interviewing for wouldn't be a problem. Having a "cheat sheet" to help you answer the reviewers questions about yourself would be.

Let's look at the questions:

1. I’m very self-motivated. How will you measure my success in this position after one full year?

Personally, I like this question (maybe without the first sentence.)

2. The first 30 days are very important for me to meet as many team members as possible. How will you recommend I do that?

Re-phrased another way (but making the same point), I don't think this one is bad either.

3. What are the top 3 skills or experiences you are looking for that may not be mentioned in the job description?

Ok, this one may be strange. You'd probably get the same info here that you'd get from question #1 anyway.

4. Of all of the people who have worked for you, what are the characteristics of those who have stood out as great performers?

Again, not bad.

5. I have to admit I’m a perfectionist in some areas. What are the aspects of this position that absolutely require precision and attention to detail?

This one is too promotional and self-serving.

6. What do you find most creative about what you do and what aspects would have a creative feeling to them for me? (Replace “creative” with another positive skill of the position.)

Not bad, either.

7. Of all of the criteria you have outlined for this position, what are the top 3 in stack rank order?

This is a good one IMO. Then when they answered it, I would respond with examples that showed how my work delivered on those criteria.

8. The position we are discussing is something I am very excited about. Can you give me feedback on how I am meeting your qualifications and if I will proceed to the next level of the hiring process? (This is called “going for the close” or “asking for the order” in sales.)

I think this is a good one as well. I phrase it a bit differently, but the essence is the same.

In fact, this is my first question. I ask them what they think of my experience, how it would fit the job, and if there's anything they see as lacking. If there is, I use examples as to why that should not be an issue (from my past experience.) Then I re-ask the question until they have no concerns.

If they have no concerns, I then ask them where I stand in relation to others in the hiring process. Depending on what they say, I either have another question (one I don't care as much about) or keep selling to get myself to the #1 position.

Apex - It's all in the delivery, but I have never been accused of being impatient with this question. Quite the opposite IMO - it shows you really want the position (something the interviewer wants you to want). It also shows you are aggressive (most employers appreciate this too), that you understand the process, and can be articulate in situations where others often stumble. I see it as a great way to differentiate yourself from the pack (in a positive way.)

FMF,

You are right that delivery matters a lot. The way you phrased the questions is a whole lot better.

I think the sales side of the business often finds different traits more appealing than the make stuff side of the business and often leads to some of these differences in opinion on what makes for a good interview or resume.

Based on your career success I would say whatever you have done personally is hard to argue with as it relates to your field.

By far the best interview prep site I've seen is found here: https://www.da.ks.gov/ps/subject/bei/display_questions.asp

They give you a list of "behavioral" interview questions which you can't BS through because you need to give specific examples.

Sorry, here's a better link: https://www.da.ks.gov/ps/subject/bei/

I was just so blown away by the couple awful questions, it did kind of make me overlook the others.

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